Roam Digital was born in 2013. Spawned from experience in Silicon Valley, the digital innovation offering was ahead of its time in New Zealand. As a result, the start-up grew quickly. It attracted forward-thinking candidates and global brands alike, organically, making scaling a natural progression.
Fast forward 9 years, now with 4 offices in Auckland, Wellington, Sydney, and Singapore, Roam is on a growth trajectory driven by its company values: curiosity, passion, honesty and empathy.
Why I chose to Roam
My decision to join Roam was motivated by an underlying self-awareness of my desire to work in an environment that was truly people-focused. I didn’t want to be a cog in the wheel, another number (so to speak). I had the advantage of knowing what I was looking for, and to a degree, how to evaluate this to be true.
My first stop, like many other curious job seekers, was Glassdoor. Knowing the business was under 10 years old, I braced myself for reviews reflecting growth pains, like most other fast-growing start-ups. However, with a score of 93% and 4.5 stars, notably above the average rating of 72% and 3.5 stars, I was intrigued.
Throw in some down-to-earth interviews and a seamless recruitment experience, and Roam was for the win. What ultimately sealed the deal for me, was the emphasis and investment on the importance of their People & Culture department. This wasn’t a band-aid hire; the consultancy is at a headcount of 140 globally, with an established team of 5 within the P&C support function. This to me spoke volumes.
To me, this was an indication of Roam’s deep understanding of the importance of investing in People & Culture as a function just as necessary as Design or Engineering. Even more interestingly, their investment doesn’t stop at headcount. Tools used within the business - including Bamboo, Bonusly and Peakon - support the approach to individual management being a holistic one, emphasising personal and professional development. Soft skills like empathy, leadership and communication are just as importantly evaluated and cultivated as technical skills. Music to my ears.
A refreshing approach to management
Managers are Roamers who have shown leadership qualities and ambitions throughout their own progression and apply to their team the same principles they were shown. With individuals supported to achieve their own goals within the consultancy - whether their aspirations be leadership, technical or a change of department - the retention model works because it’s driven by the employees and facilitated by the managers.
Refreshingly, weekly leadership meetings are not about new business or financial objectives, but are an opportunity for managers to share the progress of individual team members as a group. A chance for the wider consultancy to spot opportunities for their people and highlight the awareness of their growth and aspirations, or pain points and additional support needed. This creates a collaborative approach to management.
The culture add
I personally think the term “culture fit” is outdated. “Culture add” is an attitude that serves to enrich and diversify the current team structure. This is the approach of Roam. With employees all over the world including Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Dubai, their open-minded attitude and true remote working structure strengthens their cultural diversity organically. It’s not a statistical goal or PR stunt; the business hires based on skill set, but most importantly, potential.
Refusing to let barriers like location, age, background or first language mean they revert to old school approaches of sourcing local, box-ticking candidates. Couple this with a relocation offering and “work from anywhere in the world policy” and Roamers are truly free to Roam. Very 2022.
You can’t force culture; it must be something every employee wants to actively engage in. Not an easy feat, but even in lockdown, the consultancy is united, making time to play games together, share knowledge and contribute to a supportive community where people feel their individualism is celebrated.
It’s a fascinating time to be in the tech industry, but it’s an even more fascinating time to be in a People & Culture role within a company that values P&C as a core function of business success. I look forward to sharing the stories of the growth of Roamers and their progressive, human approach.